The mistreatment of the Windrush generation is scandalous. The Windrush generation were invited here as citizens to help rebuild the UK after the Second World War. This is their home and they have contributed hugely to our country over a number of decades.
There are a growing number of people who came to the UK from the Commonwealth as children but who now face uncertainty over their status.
Several cases have been highlighted where people have been denied the free NHS care they are entitled to or who have been threatened with deportation. Some may even have been deported in error.
Under the Immigration Act 1971, all Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were granted indefinite leave to remain. However, the Home Office did not keep records or issue paperwork confirming it. It is also the case that in 2014, the government removed the immigration protection that existed for Commonwealth citizens who had come here previously.
This whole situation has caused immense distress to the people concerned, widespread concern throughout the country and international disquiet – and is a direct consequence of the ‘hostile environment’ policy for migrants promoted by the Coalition and Conservative governments.
The Home Office has now confirmed that the Windrush generation do have the right to remain, and apologised for any confusion or anxiety they have caused. The Home Office has also established a new team to help individuals to evidence their right to be here and to access necessary services.
It is shameful that the UK has treated the Windrush generation in this way. The government should immediately restore all the protections which were removed in 2014 and confirm the rights of the Windrush generation as British citizens. We must establish the facts on any deportations and the government must make apologies where necessary and invite anyone who has been deported in error back to the UK immediately.
Compensation should be made and that there must be an end to the entire hostile environment policy towards migrants.
I have asked the government a number of questions about the health impact of the mistreatment and the Windrush generation. You can read the questions here.